Thursday, June 30, 2011

Inspiration with Tent Stitches

Today must be Inspirational Day.  First we have Picasso designing needlepoint chair upholstry, then we have Barbara Elmore writing about art and tent stitches.

The articles are all about creating art with our stitching.  Why not take Barbara's words to heart and try something new so you can take your stitching to another level?

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow
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Picasso Designed Needlepoint

Courtesy of All Things Needlepoint, I have this lovely article about the desire to live among (and create) art.

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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Blogger Nixes Canvas of the Day

Blogger, which is showing its tempermental side today, won't let me post a new photo for the Canvas of the Day section over in the right hand column.  So yesterday's will remain in place but those who need a Canvas of the Day fix can go visit Sheena's blog to see the Daily Canvas she's chosen.

Sorry for the technical difficulties.  I'll keep trying off and on today.

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Circle August 15th on Your Calendar

If you are a big fan of Sandy Arthur's first book, Shapes of Needlepoint, then you need to circle 8/15 on your calendar.  That's when Sandy's second  Shapes of Needlepoint book is coming out.  Marianne at New Needlepoint is taking pre-orders for book two which will have diagrams for various sizes of diamonds, hearts, octagons and stars.

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Kaffe Fassett Biography

The newsletter from Kaffe Fassett's assistant arrived in my email box today. It says he is working on his biography.  I think that's something I must buy when it is published.  He is my hero, after all!  Why is he my hero?  Check out his recent quilts, particularly Mexican Party.

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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Dede's Other Topiary Garden Designs

A comment Jeannine of BeStitched made about how lovely the cat topiary garden design is reminded me that I haven't mentioned dede Odgen's three other topiary garden designs.  All are set in the same garden my cat topiary garden piece shows. First, here is the whimsical three panel rabbit angel piece.  Doesn't that background look familiar?

There are also two non-traditional Christmas stockings that feature rabbits in Renaissance costume in the topiary garden.  One stocking features female rabbits.

The other features male rabbits.  They would make a dynamite Christmas set, wouldn't they?  Even if you aren't really a Christmas stocking person or up for stitching a three piece set, you can enjoy the lovely topiary garden series dede created.

There may be other topiary garden pieces (if so, please let me know so I can post more links or photos here) but these are the only ones I know about.   Of course many designers use the same background in several pieces, but it makes me particularly happy to know just what lies behind the locked gate of my cat topiary garden.

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New from Susan Roberts

Thanks to Theresa at Homestead Needle Arts, I know that Susan Roberts Needlepoint has updated their website with the new 2011 designs.  My favorites are the round Tapestry Tent Nativity ornaments but there is a lot of different items for us to all enjoy.

Thanks for the heads-up, Theresa!

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Cameras and Churches, Belts and eBook Covers

I bookmark things that I find interesting and post them to Blog eventually, but sometimes these things are not going to interest most needlepointers.  This is one of those posts.  If you  photograph your needlework (or want to) you will enjoy reading what Nordic Needle says about cameras and stitching in their latest newsletter.

Janet Perry's pulled together several websites and Flickr pages on ecclesiastical needlework, specifically church kneelers which are traditionally done in tent stitches with wool for durability's sake.

I am seeing lots of needlepoint belt or belt buckle canvases for sale these days.  Belt finishing is a specialty job if you have leather added but you can add ribbon and a ring closure to the belt yourself if you know about binding stitch.  Here's a video from M's Canvashouse (which does a LOT of finishing) about how binding stitch finishes the edge of belts.

Speaking of finishing, I ran across this article about making your own eBook cover with a finished needlepoint canvas.  If you are handy with a sewing machine, this is something worth trying.

The writer had already made one Nook cover.  Here is the description of that project which lead to the link above as a simpler way to put the cover together.

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Monday, June 27, 2011


Terry Dryden's finished her latest design and it's a honey!  It will be piloted next March and taught for the first time at the ANG Seminar in 2012.

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The Cat Topiary Garden Hedges UPDATED WITH PHOTOS

Left Side Hedge
UPDATE:  Blogger finally allowed me to add the last two photos, after 18 hours of trying!

I've been test driving a lot of stitches for the various bushes, hedges and tall trees in the background of the cat topiary garden.  I am particularly interested in finding a stitch for the topiary bushes themselves since right now I'm thinking millions of French knots.  Anything is better than that, right?  LOL

So I'm reading carefully through my two best sources of plant stitches--June McKnight's Plants and Animals in Needlepoint and the three Stitches for Effect books by Robertson and Howren.  I found an interesting stitch called Staggered Cross in More Stitches for Effect (page 60) that is recommended for topiaries.  When I tested it I didn't think it was what I wanted for the topiaries in my garden but it sure looked good for the hedges!

In the above photo I've completely covered the front of the left hedge (but not the top, I'll use another stitch there) with the diagonal rows that are step one of Staggered Cross.  I used one ply of DMC 700 here.  I have started adding the tiny cross stitches of step two in the rows above the length of thread laying across the canvas.  I used the slightly lighter DMC 701 here.  That adds texture to the pattern and makes the hedge look slightly rougher--which is what you see in clipped hedges.

I originally thought I should use a darker thread for step two since I thought the big stitches of step one should be more prominent, but using the lighter thread for the tiny stitches looks better.  This is part of Color Magic, which is what I call the mysterious effect of two or more colors together on a needlepoint canvas.  You really don't always know what will happen!

Right Hedge Started
When it was time to start the right hedge, I turned my canvas on its side to make working the diagonal rows easier.  In the photo above I've stitched a few rows of step one.

Staggered Cross

Here's a diagram of Staggered Cross, showing both steps.  As you can see, this is an easy stitch.  The tiny green stitches are regular cross stitches while the red and yellow stitches are just big cross stitches.  I used one ply of my DMC floss on my 18 count canvas for both steps.  You may decide one ply looks skimpy if you are working the 13 count version of this design.  Go up to two plies--or maybe even three if you like the effect--but don't go any higher.  You don't want the hedges to be too heavy looking.  We have the more solid items like the cat statues and the real sleeping cat to do.  The hedges shouldn't overshadow those areas.

Note that the hedge fronts are painted a solid color without shading.  So I didn't bother with a stitch that would reveal shading in the paint underneath.  Staggered Cross pretty well covers the painted design, even with just one ply of cotton floss.    This means you can choose any two close shades of green for the hedges that look good with the other bush and shrub colors. This will help you use up stash threads, even if your greens don't exactly match the paint color. It's more important to have two very close shades of green that work with the rest of the canvas than it is to match the paint color.  DMC 700 and 701 are a pretty close match, though.

Right Hedge Top
Once the sides of the hedges are done, we move to the tops.  I wanted to use a slightly larger scale stitch here that is related to Staggered Cross with the same threads as used on the sides.  So it's back to the books!  I found just what I wanted on page 12 of June McKnight's Plants and Animals in Needlepoint.  It is called St. George and St. Andrew Crosses.

St. George and St. Andrew
This is a simple stitch.  You do the same large cross stitch used in step one of Staggered Cross but in a straight row, skipping two threads between each large cross.  For the rows above and below your first row, stagger the large crosses so that they are positioned above and below the skipped two threads in the first row.  Continue along, alternating large crosses and skipped spaces, until the area is filled.  Then put big plus signs + in the skipped areas, again working until the empty spaces in each line are filled.

The above photo shows what you end up with at this stage.  By the way, I used my lighter color of green here:  DMC 701.

See the hedge top under the cat topiary in the center of the photo just above?  I stitched that the same way as the other two hedge tops so that all three are the same stitches and thread.  I'm also going to use Staggered Cross to do the very dark green front of that hedge, probably using DMC cotton floss in 319, which is a dark green with olive green mixed in.  For that center hedge, I'm going to use DMC 319 for both steps in Staggered Cross as I want that hedge in shadow without any color shading to catch the eye and detract from the gate in front of the hedge.)

But there is more!  I made sure that I didn't compensate my St. George and St. Andrew Crosses at the top edge of the hedge top.  If there were a stitch or two there uncovered by either the large crosses or the large plus signs, I did a small tent stitch over them.  I compensated at the sides and bottom of the areas but not the top. Once I finished adding a tent stitch here or there at the top side, I put tiny one wrap French knots along the top, covering the tent stitches which are just there to give something to stabilize the French knots so they won't pull out.  Then I scattered French knots here and there through out the cut top of the hedge.  This softens the regular look of St. George and St. Andrew Crosses and makes the hedge look more like the tiny leaves are growing back here and there after a trim with the garden shears.

The photo below shows the finished look and the diagram above shows just the St. George and St. Andrew Crosses without any French knots or tent stitches along the top.  The tent stitches and French knots were done using DMC 701 but the dimension you get from French knots makes it look like the hedge tops were done in several colors. They were not.  It's just more Color Magic.

Left and Right Hedges Done, Center One Underway

I need to finish the central hedge and then I'm going to stitch the four remaining bushes which aren't topiaries.  They are on either side of the egg-shaped bush and to the right side behind the cat statue.  That will mean the egg bush and the four shaped topiaries are all of the greenery unstitched at this point.

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Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Devil Doesn't Glow in the Dark

With Halloween ornaments so popular these days, thread companies have created threads that glow in the dark.  Rainbow Gallery just came out with a Neon Rays Plus in a glow in the dark thread, in fact.  But how well do they work? What do they look like and where can you get glow in the dark threads?  Don't look at me.  Despite my huge stash of threads, I only have one that glows in the dark and I can't find it right now.  However, Robin King is ready and able to step up and share her experience with these threads.

We can now glow with confidence!  Unless we are a devil ornament, of course.  LOL

Thanks, Robin.

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Stars Update

Sadly, it isn't my Stars update, it is Coni's and Jan's and Liz's.  They have all been busy working their squares.  Coni is rocking a red, white and blue version from the bottom up, which means we get to see blocks that are new to me.

She's making great progress, too, with the determination and focus only the Spinster Stitcher can bring to projects.

Jan is doing a rust and olive color scheme.  She and Liz have finished the same block so you can see what different colors do with the patterns.

Liz is using turquoise and brown.  Well, of course there are other colors involved but those are the ones most prominent this month.

I will get back to Stars one day, but not for a while.  I have too many deadlines on painted canvases.  Sorry.  We'll all have to enjoy everyone else's versions until I have more time.

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Saturday, June 25, 2011

New Rebecca Wood Designs for Summer 2011

Thanks to one of the spies who feed me tips, I know that Rebecca Wood has added her latest designs to her website.  Me, I am partial to the Bear's Night Before Christmas stocking cuff but there is a lot to see and admire.  Click on the tiny photos for a better view.

Thanks, Palma!

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Crewel Like You've Never Seen It Before

Cayce Zavaglia embroiders on a cotton/linen blend with crewel wool.  The end results are stunningly realistic portraits.  I've never seen crewel like this before!  Trish Burr does a fascinating interview on her blog, asking the questions us needleworkers would ask.

More portraits are on Cayce's website.

By the way, if you aren't familiar with Trish Burr's embroideries, click on the Gallery tab on her blog (first link) and see what can be done with cotton floss.

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Friday, June 24, 2011

Lee Self Finishing Belts

Thanks to Barbara Bergsten, I have a link to photos of Lee's latest leather goods--iPad cases, nylon totes (I own one and it is FABULOUS), and a new self-finishing belt.  If hip hugging belts come back in style, these belts will sell like hotcakes.  After all, I remember how great I looked in the style....

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The Sequin Sizer UPDATED

Sequin Sizer (18 count)
Several folks have been asking about sequin sizes on Stitcherie, so I promised I'd look at my Sundance sequins and try to come up with a way to estimate how large their various shapes of sequins are and also how much canvas real estate each size covers.  I don't have any scraps of 13 count canvas lying around, so I am using 18 count as my baseline.  I also don't have any brands of sequins except for Sundance's.  However, if I can figure out how many threads a 4 mm sequin covers on 18 count, at least that will be somewhat helpful.  Maybe another blogger with 13 count canvas and other brands of sequins can do a followup posting.

First of all, you should know that there are 25.4 millimeters in one inch.  A 6 mm sequin is roughly 1/4 inch wide and tall while a 4 mm sequin is more than 1/8 inch but less than 3/16 inch wide and tall.  In terms of threads on a needlepoint canvas, for 18 count a--
2 mm sequin will cover about 2 tent stitches;
4 mm sequin will cover about 4 tent stitches;
6 mm sequin will cover about 5 tent stitches;
13 mm sequin will cover about 9 tent stitches.

This is approximate.  My measurements are based on Sundance brand sequins.  Their sequins are pretty uniform in shape but not entirely, plus shaped sequins like the cupped sequins or flower shaped ones will cover irregular areas on the canvas.  But perhaps this will be a rough guide for folks who have to mail order sequins and want to know the right size.

In the photo above, there are no 2 mm sequins.  The 4 mm column shows (top to bottom) Sundance's small embossed square transparent colored squares ("Etched Panel Square BDS-SQ110" which comes in a packet of assorted colors), their cupped flower sequins which are not flat but shaped ("Raised Flower BDS-SQ103") and which also come in a packet of assorted colors, and the black faceted sequins ("BDS-SQ112 Black Shimmer") which come in a packet of all black.

The 6 mm column shows (top to bottom) Sundance's large round embossed circle sequins (sorry, there is no identifying number on the packet but it comes in assorted colors) and their large wild animal print square sequins ("BDS-SQ106 Animal Square" in a packet of assorted colors).

The 13 mm column only has Sundance's flower sequins "BDS-SQ101 Opaque Flower") which have an iridescent finish and come in a packet of assorted pastel colors.

Hope this helps!  By the way, Vicky has posted a great photo of a wide assortment of Sundance sequins on her blog. You can see the possibilities here.

UPDATE:  I've discovered the 2mm sequins from The Collection can be held down by a size 14/0 (sometimes written as size 14) bead.  Size 11/0 beads completely cover a 2mm sequin so you can't see it.

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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Fat is the New Black FIXED

If you are a fan of either Raymond Crawford or finishing, you'll enjoy browsing his website pages that show off finished examples of his designs.  UPDATE:  I fixed the link. Sorry!

The title of this Blog entry comes from one of his canvases that cracks me up.

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Kreinik Videos Presents: Whimsy and Grace!

Let's hear it for the Kreinik film crew who take us to the Whimsy and Grace TNNA booth to see their wonderful mask canvases in this short film. There are Venetian masks, sleep masks (with matching bookmarks), and even a cat mask!  I'm hoping you don't have to have a Facebook account to see the video.  Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn't.  Mysteries of the Internet, you know!

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Wednesday, June 22, 2011


DMC's blog writes that half cross stitch is catching on.  Since this is just needlepoint/tent stitch under another name, this makes me smile.

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Chottie Alderson on the History Of Needlepoint

I recently ran across this Needle Bug reprint of a two part article Chottie Alderson wrote for Needle Pointers in 1982.  It's a summary of the history of needlepoint, which I found wonderful fun to read.   I had no idea that all tent stitched pieces became the vogue during Elizabeth I's reign, for example.  Turkeywork became very popular then as well.   Thanks, Needle Bug!

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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Red, White and Blue Needlepointer

The new shop BeStitched (Scottsdale, AZ) has a new blog that showcases their favorite things.   Right now they are having a sale on patriotic canvases.  Check out the wonderful riffs on our flag!

Kelly Clark has a new set of ornaments she calls American Spirit.

Of course Laura Perin has a new charted patriotic piece.  I sense a trend developing here!

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Is Barbara Cutting Her Own Throat?

Barbara Bergsten is known for both colorful stitch painted canvases and posting stitch guides for them on her website.  In this blog posting she asks whether she is opening herself up to copyright theft by being so open and giving?

It's a tough question.  I think she is opening a door to those who want to steal her work but on the other hand, I think most stitchers are honest and won't do so if they are aware that they are hurting Barbara and the rest of the great designers who do so much to make our stitching lives great.  What do you think?

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Monday, June 20, 2011

More about Beading NP Canvas

Rittenhouse has written another of their fascinating articles about needlepoint.  This one is very topical given I just unloaded a ton of beading tips here on Blog.  Rittenhouse adds a lot to what I said in this fascinating article.

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More Trees on Tulle: The Cedars

Left Cedar Tree
The cedar trees on this piece are tall and narrow so I went looking for a stitch that was upright and skinny, just like the trees.  I found the perfect stitch in June McKnight's Plants and Animals in Needlepoint (a great book if you are stitching flora and fauna and critters, by the way).  I'm calling the trees that are on either side of the fish topiary cedars, by the way, and they were both stitched with one ply of the same thread-- Soie Crystale 8092.  This is also the same thread used on the big spruce tree on the right side.

Tall Straight Cross
The stitch I choose is called Tall Straight Cross.  It's diagrammed on page 14 of June McKnight's book.  It is a very simple stitch, just rows of long vertical stitches over four threads.  You skip a channel (or two threads) between each long stitch.  The second step of the stitch is to cover those long stitches in the middle with a shorter vertical stitch over two threads.

In the example above you see the yellow straight stitches I worked from left to right and two horizontal backstitches that I have started working over the middles going from right to left.  You can work the stitch in any way that makes sense to you, however.  The rows above and below the first row interlock so that your canvas is covered with cross shapes.  Because you are using light coverage stitches, some paint shows but this is a much denser stitch than the one used for the juniper bushes last week.

In the photo above the cedar on the left is stitched but the one on the right (which is partly behind the arch of the gate) is not.  That's because I worked it slightly differently, but with the same one ply of the same thread.  I stitched it without doing the horizontal tie down stitches.  In other words, do the yellow stitches in the example without adding the tie downs on top.  This allows more paint to show as this tree has more shading.  It's also easier to compensate the cedar stitches that show between the latticework if you don't have to worry about the horizontal stitches.

Doing the first half of Tall Straight Cross is the same as during Parisian stitches.  Many stitches are created by not doing steps in another stitch.  Here's a photo of both cedar trees done.

Next time I'm probably going to work the short juniper bushes to the right and left of the cat topiary but I haven't decided yet.

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Sunday, June 19, 2011

A Temple For Suzy

The Framed Model
Suzy asked me to post a photo of the finished Temple of 1000 Cranes.  So here they are!

Finished but Unframed
This is a canvas by Leigh Designs, one of her series of eight fantasy pagodas.  This is the first one Leigh designed.

Roof and Trees Closeup
These are big canvases, 11x14 on 18 count, so it is hard to get a good photo but here are some closeups of several areas.  My personal favorite part is the temple itself, particularly the roof.

Rocks and stone steps closeup
The stone steps and rocks turned out particularly well, though.  The design was stitched with light coverage stitches and I didn't stitch the background much at all.  If Leigh hadn't talked me out of it, I would not have stitched the big tree in the background on the right at all but Leigh thought it would look better if it were stitched to match the left big tree.

One Last View of Everything
Hope you enjoyed the show, Suzy!

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Kelly Clark Speaks

Actually the fact that she can speak at all--much less blog--is pretty impressive a few days after the madness that is a TNNA wholesale market!  But speak she does, showing off her newest designs.  Click on each photo for a better view.
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Designer Updates

Jude's Skateboard Witch
Now that the TNNA show in Columbus is over, I've started browsing designer websites, looking for updates of the newest painted canvases.  So far, here's what I've found:

Renaissance Designs has some wonderful little kimono doll kits that might be perfect for teaching that child in your life to stitch.  As usual, their Halloween pieces are wonderful and that standup Patchwork Santa is pretty amazing, too.

Colors of Praise does wonderful birds and flower designs, but look! There's a geisha, too!

Amanda Lawford has added some wonderful animal designs, particularly the funny dog pieces starting on page 7.  No geishas were spotted.  :(

Canvas Candy has new juvenile and Christmas ornament/canvas sets.  (The geisha is under Asian.  LOL)

A Dragon's Tale is featuring new fairy tale canvases based on her sister's paintings.  Since I love fairy tale canvases almost as ones with Asian themes, we'll let the lack of a geisha slide here.

I believe the garden pieces are new also.

Jude Designs has added some wonderful things to her line.  There's a magnificent Madonna and Child and the totally hilarious Skateboard Witch you see at the top of the page.  No geishas but her 12 Cajun Days of Christmas totally makes up for the lack.

Finally, Julia's Needleworks has six pages of new designs.  Howl at the Moon Diva will capture some folks' eye while others will be totally charmed by the 3-D prairie dog needlepoint.  There is a Nativity set, a series of fashion plate ladies, Toby jug canvases, and an elephant on a flying carpet.  Fans of Peter Ashe will enjoy looking at his small round Nutcracker ornaments.

Unique New Zealand has some wonderful geometrics and a line of hilarious Keep Calm signs.

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Saturday, June 18, 2011

Nimble Needle and the TNNA Belts

Trying to avoid canvases other blogs have talked about, Nimble Needle showcases some lovely belt canvases from Barbara Bergsten and Labors of Love, and shows off Raymond Crawford's new Judiac designs which are lovely.  I can see folks stitching all eight separate Menorah candles.  Believe me, I appreciate NN's attempts to show off things we have not seen before!  After all, there must have been many wonderful things no one took photographs of at the Columbus show.

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Fabulous Art in Needlepoint

I think today's just going to be dedicated to stitched pieces that'll blow your mind.  Let's start with this partly stitched Melissa Shirley piece that is going to be a class at Pocket Full of Stitches later in the year.  Take a close look at all the photos--amazing!

Were you wow'd by the Labors of Love geisha canvas that comes with the porcelain hands and face that premiered at Columbus, but Asian canvases just aren't your style?  Not to worry--Ridgewood has posted a photo of L of L's finished Elizabethean Queen piece.

After checking the L of L website, I see a photo of the finished Marie Antoinette and it looks like they also have an Anne Bolyn set but all I find is a photo of the canvas without her head.  Which is appropriate, come to think about it!

My final link is to Kay Stanis' website--the slide show on the home page leaves me breathless.  She teaches silk and metal embroidery which she clearly has mastered.  You can buy the instructions for some of her retired teaching designs as well as supplies like tiny tweezers, Japanese flat silk, and a tekobari directly from her.  Kay has included some great information about handling silks and metal threads under Techniques. Don't miss that once you stop staring at her finished models.

Me, I'm just going to sit mesmerized by her slide show and drink my coffee....

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Friday, June 17, 2011

A Bit More TNNA

Now that folks who were at the TNNA trade show are home, unpacked and mostly normal again, they are posting more information about the show.  DMC shows off some needlepoint canvases stitched with their new memory thread and talks about the new colors here.

Vicky DeAngelis has unpacked and is ready to talk cat canvases and threads,

while Robin King has snow on her mind courtesy of Don Lynch's SNOW canvas (Associated Talent).  She also has threads on her mind.

Come to think about it, which stitcher doesn't Think Threads?

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Collaborative Art

The next time someone implies needlepoint is stitch by numbers, refer them here to see how designers, stitchers and finishers combine their talent to create little masterpieces.

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Thursday, June 16, 2011

More TNNA Painted Canvas Pictures

Vicky is home now but still posting, this time photos of Christmas and food-related canvases.

Ditto the Needle Bug.  Their Goddess and Sweet Dreams pillow photo is from Lani, and the pink collage pillow with the flower in the center might also be a Lani design.  The seahorse and fish are from dede Odgen and there is a closeup of coral at the base of her fish sculpture.  These are the sorts of things her new book That's Not Needlepoint teaches you to stitch.  I can't identify the bracelets or the wonderful Christmas ornaments used as purse designs.  I don't know who did the big cat tuffet, either, although Trubey has similar tuffet canvases.  Sorry.

By the way, Barbara Bergsten shows off her booth.  It's all gone now but the memories remain....

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The Strong Man and The Oracle

I'm sure with all the wonderful new canvases that will soon be arriving at our local shops, we are going to need new tools.  Needlepoint Tool Time has photos of the new accessories for the K's floor frame on their website.  The first photo (labeled "Iron Man pose") shows off the wide new arms you can get.  It's a good shot of the wide stance wooden feet, too.

Another interesting tool I stumbled across is the Bead Oracle, which is a little card that helps you figure out the size of your beads and has a beading wire conversion.  If you do a lot of beading on your NP canvases, you might want one.

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Gotta Have It!

Ok, shop owners, time to dig around in old inventory and see if you have this discontinued Leigh Designs canvas of a red foo dog in stock.  You can see it here nearly at the bottom of the page.

I gotta have it and you are my last hope!

Email me at chillyhollow at hotmail dot com and make me very happy....

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Introducing Red Geisha

Now that Melissa Shirley's Red Geisha has made her debut at the TNNA show in Columbus, I can show you how she looked once she was finally finished.  

Red Geisha was designed to have a lot of surprises, like a real geisha should. The more you get to know her, the more you will see.   It'll take time to find the yellow beads in some of the flower centers, notice that there are three shades of metallic in her hair sticks, that she sports Swarkovski crystals on her kimono, that there are black beads in the folds of her wig as well as those gorgeous Sundance sequins sprinkled around.

And of course there is the tulle layer. The pearl hair ornaments and the white apple blossoms are the exact same shade of white. It's the plum tulle that makes the flowers a different color and subtly adds a pink flush to her white face. Her lip has a black shadow and there are 2 rows of floral background pattern just to the left of her cheek. You won't see anything flashy at first but gradually Red Geisha will reveal more, the more you look. She should have many admirers, just like any geisha.

Melissa herself calls Red Geisha "a bit haughty" but I think she is a real diva myself.  She's not the kind of purse that wants to go to the grocery store--you'd better plan on taking her to the opera, a swanky party or perhaps the White House or there will be trouble!

Red Geisha's stitch guide will be ready shortly.  Melissa herself will take photos of the finished piece and create the cover of the stitch guide, then I'll add photos to the text to help folks create their own haughty but charming geisha.

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Needlepoint Dinosaurs

The next time some rude person implies that needlepoint is for dinosaurs, pull out one of Jelly Bean Stock's dino canvases.  Here are the triceratops babies,

followed by the beach dinosaurs,

and of course the dancing dinos.  I see lots of beads and sequins on these designs.

By the way, Annie doesn't confine herself to Cute.  She does Elegant, too.  Check out the birds and foliage canvases.

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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Vicky Goes Asian

I can always count on Vicky DeAngelis to pick out elegant Asian-themed needlepoint canvases.  Wait'll you see what she photographed at Market!

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More Tips on Stitching Through Tulle

As I have more experience stitching through the layer of tulle on top of cat topiary garden, I've realized that using a smaller needle than usual helps.  I am stitching with a size 24 tapestry needle on 18 count instead of the size 22 I normally use.  Right now I'm just stitching with one ply of silk or cotton floss, so the eye is big enough for the thread to fit, but the needle (and thread) are small enough that they slip right through the holes in the tulle. Occasionally I realize my needle is stretching the tulle a little out of position and I remove the needle and redo the stitch but mostly my size 24 needle works great.

When I have to rip out stitches, I find it easier to gently unpick my stitches with the eye of my needle instead of cutting them with scissors.  Cutting with scissors risks cutting the tulle.  I think I could repair a hole but I'm not sure so I am not taking any chances.  I just turn the needle around and use the eye to pull up a stitch and remove it.

I haven't felt the need to run a row of basting stitches down the middle of my canvas to hold the tulle in place there but some folks might like to do that to make sure the tulle doesn't shift position much.  You can always carefully remove the basting stitches (especially if you make them really long) when you get close to stitching over them.

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Counted Canvaswork and Painted Canvases

This morning I have new eye candy for you. Since the trade show news has been mostly about painted canvases, here is a lovely silk version of a counted piece from Needle Delights.

Carol has a lovely little free ornament for us, straight from Australia.  This will make great Christmas ornaments, a scissors fob or just something pretty to pin on your bulletin board at work.

Ridgewood has been showcasing older designs that are just as wonderful today as they were when they were first released.  Their Famous Women series (from Labors of Love ) can be paired with a matching frame.

They also have a lovely Gone with the Wind canvas with all the main characters. I don't know who the designer of this classic is, but I bet fans will have great fun stitching it as a momento of a great movie.

The final touch this morning is 8 blog entries from Pocket Full of Stitches, showing off their current Patti Mann trunk show.  Twenty percent off, folks!

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The Stitching Studio Checks In and Laura Perin Resurfaces

The Stitching Studio and Boutique has checked in.  They had a blast at Market!  They bought lots of goodies,

including signing up for the Creepy Charactures set from Robin King and Needle Deeva.

They've also posted photos of the class model and Shelly Tribbey's cupcakes.  Yum!

By the way, if you've been wondering what happened to Laura Perin, she's been designing.  Wait'll you see her 4th of July piece!

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Monday, June 13, 2011

More Cats, More Leigh, More Melissa UPDATED

It's obvious Robin misses her cats while she's away from home, working the Needle Deeva booth at TNNA's Columbus show.  At least she can look at needlepoint cats while she is away.

The designers are starting to post all their new designs on their websites now that the shops have seen their work.  It's a tradition that they wait until the shops who go to the trade shows get first peek, but it is very hard on us Internet visitors!  Here is Leigh's newest Fashion Inserts as well as the new small size of their Staccato line.  I have to say I love the newest Fash inserts, particularly the temple, the pile of birthday packages, the Santa ornament, the Valentine lady whose flowing locks spell Love....

There are more new Fash Inserts that are being distributed by Lee with their lovely bags.  You can see a couple of the others here.  Leigh created them but Lee sells the butterflies and the lilies.  (Confused yet?  LOL)

Melissa Shirley has posted her new things on her website and she's made it hard because they are scattered throughout the page.  We are going to have to look at designs posted earlier this spring again.  Well, I guess that's not really such a chore.  LOL

No wonder the Needle Bug staff are exhausted!

UPDATE:  Janet Perry picks her favorite canvases from the TNNA show.

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Shut Her Up With Candy Corn

In really new TNNA news, Vicky DeAngelis has found a new artist whose work Kelly Clark is reproducing in needlepoint canvas.  Let's give a big hand of applause and welcome--once we stop laughing--for Dan Dipaolo.

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Trees on Tulle: The Cat Topiary Garden Grows

Two Spruce Trees
After the tulle was laid over my canvas and basted into position, I decided to start stitching with the two big spruce trees that are on either side of the topiary bushes.  In the photo above, the left spruce is stitched and the right spruce is half finished.  These big trees dominate the layer of background that is in front of the background we stitched first (and covered with tulle so it wouldn't take over the world!) but behind the topiary bushes.

I decided on a stitch called Double Stitch which I found in SharonG's SENSE book, page 28.  Double Stitch is just rows of tall, skinny cross stitches that are three threads high and one wide, with regular cross stitches between each big one.  Make sure you always put the same slanted leg on top.  I work my / leg first and then put the \ stitches on top, but it doesn't matter which you do as long as you are consistent.

Double Stitch
In the diagram you see mostly the big cross stitches. This is because I didn't work the tiny cross stitches in the empty spaces.  I only did step one of this stitch.  I may come back later and put in the tiny cross stitches using a thin metallic or I may use beads here or I may do nothing at all.  I won't decide until I have more bushes stitched and can see what they all look like together.

On the tree on the left side, Double Cross (step one only) is stitched as a light coverage stitch with one ply of my dark spruce green Au Ver a Soie #1826.  Pick a silk or cotton floss that is very close to the darkest green on this tree and the empty spaces that we haven't stitched will let the lighter paint shading at the top show.

For the tree on the right side, I did my Double Cross (step one only) in light coverage stitching with one ply of the lighter Soie Crystale 8092.  Pick a silk or cotton floss that is very close to the lightest shade in this tree and the darker shades painted toward the bottom will show through the skipped threads and shade this tree for you.

The next bushes we will do are the two tall cedars on either side of the fish topiary bush.  I will use the same thread that I used on the right hand cedar (Soie Crystale 8092) on these two bushes but will use two different stitches.

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More Reports from Day 2 UPDATED

The second day of the trade show is over.  Before she heads out to eat, Colleen reports in with more photos.

Michele (Bristly Thistle) also reports in.

She says there are four new Charley Harper designs on NP canvas.  They sound wonderful!

UPDATE:  Palma found us photos of the new Charley Harper designs.

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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Neither Cats or Geishas

Ruth Schmuff is reporting in from the TNNA trade show and according to Ruth, it's all about the finishing.  She proves her point with a stunning fish sculpture by dede Odgen, a Melissa Shirley humorous crow, Barbara Elmore's tree canvas, colorful Zecca pieces, a wonderful Mindy pillow that's rumored to be in the next Needlepoint Now, and much, much more.  All the photos are of the finished models, which shows just how much finishing adds to a piece.

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The Cat Lover's TNNA UPDATED

Unfortunately, the designers selling at the trade shows don't have a lot of time to go look at the fun stuff, but Vicky has cleverly managed to pick out some cat canvases for herself--a great Halloween cat from Danji and a whole bunch of kittens with lampwork bead faces from Sundance. And there's more about the show, the food, a new random beading technique she learned from a Julia Snyder class, and of course a new look at the Creepy Critters that her fellow Team Deeva member Robin King stitched.

In the interests of fairness, Colleen of Needle Works has found a darling stuffed dog canvas from Sew Much Fun.  Of course she also photographed a stuff cat canvas.  (Fairness only goes so far.)  She also shot two phots of big banner style canvases at Melissa Shirley's booth and promises to go back there for more photos.  Stay tuned.

The Needle Bug staff are worn out, but very very happy.  They claim purses (not cats or geishas) are everywhere.  How about cat or geisha purses?!

By the way, the RSS reader for The Needleworks' blog isn't working.  Neither my blog list or my Google Reader are updating even though Colleen has made six posts from Market.  If your favorite blog isn't posting as much as normal, go there in a new browser window and check to see if your feed is also broken, particularly if they use Typepad.

UPDATE:  Janet Perry has added more information to her listing of new TNNA products.

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That's Not Needlepoint UPDATED

That's Not Needlepoint by Dede Odgen
That's Not Needlepoint (It's Inspired Art Created with Your Needle) is the title of dede Odgen's new book.  In the introduction dede describes the 41 page spiral bound booklet as "inspiration for needle artists...a guide for your imagination...."  In other words, dede doesn't intend for her booklet to be a stitch guide for the eight different sea-themed canvases she discusses, but you could use it that way for the canvases which are thoroughly discussed.  I think you'll get more out of the book by treating it as a lecture on stitching every sea creature under the sun rather than using it a stitch guide for her sea themed canvases.  I think it's a great book full of interesting ideas for underwater canvases.  However, if you don't have any interest in stitching fish, corals, shells, etc., this book isn't going to be something you'll want.

The book has an introduction, three pages of color photos of stitched canvases printed on both sides, an index of the stitches mentioned, a list of threads and their manufacturer to help you order them, and a list of other dede seascape designs not mentioned in the booklet.

Inside the Book
Many of the canvases she discusses have line drawings, stitch diagrams and lists of possible threads to use for the shells, fish, seaweed, etc. on the designs.  A few just have a few sentences of general information to help you get started.  The photos above are the cover of her book and a random page inside.  Only the stitch diagrams for complex stitches are numbered to indicate the order in which you create the stitch.  In other words, this is a book for an experienced stitcher, not a beginner who won't know the threads mentioned or know how to do the easier stitches dede recommends.

The canvases discussed are her brand new seahorse under a magnifying glass,

her blue fish sculpture (see pillow top of page),

her green aquarium fish,

her blue glass aquarium fish,

her undersea garden,

child's director chair,
(I couldn't find a link, sorry)

seahorse pillow,

enchanted mermaid's dream, and

the winged angel fish ornaments.

If you are curious about dede Odgen's designs in general, browse her personal website,

her distributor's website, and

the trunk show that Fireside Stitchery currently has underway.

The book is available wholesale from dede herself.  Have your shop contact her via her website to order.  In the interests of full disclosure, dede allowed me to buy the book wholesale directly in order to review it for you during the trade show in which it is being shown instead of waiting for my local to get it from her.

I think it is a fabulous idea book for the experienced stitcher who has a canvas of fish, shells, corals, jellyfish and the like in their future.   I plan to read it cover to cover again and again.

UPDATE:  Janet Perry also reviewed this book.  Here's her take on it.

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Saturday, June 11, 2011

Robin's Feet Hurt

And who can blame them? It's hard work being our reporter at the trade show!

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Gail Hendrix has added a new black poodle to her Squiggee series of roll up designs.  It's named after her own dog, Omar.  I love the tiny blue nails!

Colleen is back with a better look at the Halloween hats from Kelly Clark, along with some wonderful Sandra Gilmore rooms and dede animals.

Leigh Designs' latest newsletter shows five of the newest Fash Insert canvases for the Lee bags.  The kicker is that we don't know which of the ones shown will be ordered from Lee and which will be ordered from Leigh.  And there are ten more just released that join the original five.   (Got all that? LOL) The suspense is killing me.

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Geishas Are Big This Year

Colleen of Needle Works has started reporting on what she's seen so far at the Columbus show.  She showcases Robin King' Creepy Creatures for Needle Deeva and a wonderful Maggie tree in her first posting.

In her next report, there are geishas everywhere!  Some nice Rebecca Wood and Kelly Clark designs, too, but I only have eyes for the geisha canvases.

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TNNA Breakfast Report UPDATED

Michele reports in on breakfast and yesterday's class, with a great trip on stitching trees.

UPDATE:  Janet Perry has a written report on some of the new items at TNNA.  No pictures, sorry.

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We are waiting.... UPDATED

TNNA Show Not Open Yet
I had to laugh at this photo of the entrance to the TNNA show in Columbus, Ohio which isn't open yet.  They have guards to keep people from sneaking in!?!  Boy, they understand needleworkers well, don't they?

This is courtesy of Serendipity Needleworks in Tuscaloosa.  Keep an eye on their Facebook page as they promise more photos once those doors open.

UPDATE:  The doors are open and Serendipity is inside among the crowd!

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The TNNA Reports Begin

Folks at the trade show are starting to report in!

Robin King helped set up the Needle Deeva booth, then went to the Sample It and then the Needlepoint Showcase events where she saw her finished Creepy Creatures ornaments for the first time.  These are really spectacular made up and I know everyone who watched Robin stitch these on the Needlepoint Study Hall blog feels very proud of her success.  By the way, Amy Bunger won a big TNNA award.  Congratulations all round!

Vicky DeAngelis is also reporting on the Needle Deeva's day at the trade show (which isn't really open yet, these are just the preliminary events).  Her little heart kits sold out at the Sample It event.  Congratulations here, too.  Vicky took a class yesterday from SharonG and has another today with Julia Snyder.  Are you as green with envy as I am?

The Stitching Studio and Gift Boutique in Richmond are having trouble with Blogger so they are posting photos of the goodies they've acquired on their Facebook page.

Today is the real first day of the trade show.  I expect we'll start to see more new things when folks get back to their rooms tonight.

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One of my favorite things about needlepoint blogs is that folks show off their finished (or almost finished) canvases.  For example, The Front Range Stitcher has almost finished her nutcracker that came with a dynamite stitch guide by Susan Portra.  If you ever wanted help making bullions, this article is for you.

Vicky's Rainbow Birds piece is back from the framer, and it's a show stopper!  I think she is entering it in the ANG Seminar exhibit this fall so if you are going to be there, check it out in person.

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Friday, June 10, 2011

Let the Party Begin UPDATED

The staff of the Needle Bug in Montgomery have arrived in Columbus, ready to hit the TNNA show with their Southern charm.  After a nap, of course!

They promise another blog entry tonight so stay tuned....

By the way, Needle Delights has a new design being printed right now.  It's lime green but of course you can change the colors to make your own fun.  Maybe we'll sit around tonight and make up color combos until we hear from the Bugs again?

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More News from TNNA

Janet Perry describes some of the new things premiering at the TNNA market.

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Melissa Shirley Summer Preview

Melissa's website has her new fairy tale witch series pictured as well as some of the darling new Deep in the Heart of Texas hearts.  I know there is more to come (like Red Geisha, for example) but we are going to have to wait until the shops get the first glimpse at the Columbus market.

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Columbus TNNA Show: First, Set Up Booth

Team Deeva is in position at Columbus, setting up their booth in preparation for wowing the shop owners who are starting to arrive for the TNNA trade show.

It sounds like great fun but also a LOT of work.

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Jules Has an Admirer

Robin King has a cat named Jules, and Jules has an admirer in Ashley Bradley, who used a photo of him for the first of her cat stockings.  She's been designing a series of dog stockings for the TNNA market and Jules thought a cat was in order.  Isn't he beautiful?  I guess I'm an admirer of Jules, too!

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Free, Amazing

Orna Willis has added the second free "family" design to her website.  I love the mix of red and purple in her version.

In the amazing category, Carole emailed me the link to this set of painted canvases intended to be made into a poof.  Of Geishas, of course!  Does Carole know me or what?!

Also amazing is the little owl with the floral eyes, one of the new designs featured on the Squiggee website.  I think the last 2-3 pages of the catalogue have new designs also, at least I don't recognize all of these.

The last amazing thing I have to show you is a box made by Marlene's, who specializes in magical finishing.

Many thanks to Carole, Gail and to Orna, too.  And of course to the amazingly talented finishers at Marlene's.

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